Friday, November 30, 2007

“A Christmas Story”

Can’t let the discussion of holiday specials go by without mentioning “A Christmas Story.”

Set in the 1940s, all little Ralph “Ralphie” Parker wants for Christmas is his two front teeth.

Naah. I’m messing with you. What he really, really, really, REALLY wants is a Red Ryder BB gun. But everyone tells the kid, wonderfully played by Peter Billingsley, no because “You’ll shoot your eye out!” (Humor not lost on me since my left eye is prosthetic. And, no, it wasn’t from a BB gun accident.)

One of my favorite parts of this special is when Ralphie’s brother goes out to play in the snow, his mother has him so heavily dressed, he cries out, “I can’t put my arms down! I can’t put my arms down!”

You can read more about “A Christmas Story” on here:

You can check out part of “A Christmas Story” on here:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"A Very Brady Christmas"

The lovely lady and a man named Brady and their six kids (and Alice, too) reunited in this 1988 movie.

Carol and Mike Brady, unbeknownst to each other, plan surprise vacations for each other. When they learn what the other is planning, they decide to scrap their plans and instead bring the whole family home for Christmas. (Except for poor cousin Oliver. We missed you, Oliver.)

But, all’s not well in Bradyland. Alice has left Sam the butcher and winds up in tears on the Bradys’ doorstep, and they, of course take her in. Marcia’s husband, Wally, has lost his job with Tyler Toys; Jan and Philip are having marital problems, etc., etc.

On Christmas, Mike gets called to a construction project, dashes in to rescue people and the thing then collapses around him. But, Carol Brady knows the power of faith (and song) and starts belting out "Silent Night" with Cindy. And then the others chime in. And, Mike and the others miraculously emerge!

Cheesy, sure. But it’s fun to see the Brady kids as adults. (Susan Olsen, who played Cindy in the TV series, sat this one out and was replaced by Jennifer Runyon.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"It's a Wonderful Life"

"Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight …. Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight aaaaand dance … by the light … of da ….moooooon."

Yes, it’s time to talk about the Frank Capra classic, "It’s a Wonderful Life." Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, it’s the story of George Bailey, who is about to commit suicide when his guardian angel, Clarence, intervenes. Clarence, an angel second-class who hasn’t gotten his wings yet, shows George what life would be like for those he knows had he not been born. In the end, George realizes how much of an impact he’s had on other people and wants to live again. He not only gets the chance to do just that, but good, old Clarence finally earns his wings. ("Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.")

Definitely a feel-good movie. How the heck his brother Harry balanced all those pies, I’ll never know.

A favorite line of mine: "Boys, and girls, and music. Why do they need gin?" says Annie.

And, of course, you have to love a movie with cops named Bert and Ernie. (And, yes, this was way before the days of "Sesame Street.")

Check out the movie's ending on here:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966)

One of the … yes, you guessed it … great holiday classics. In this animated tale, narrated by Boris Karloff, the Grinch decides to steal Christmas from the Whos in Whoville. So, he dresses as Santa, attaches antlers on his poor dog, Max, then hooks Max up to a sleigh and segts off for Whoville. He winds up taking all the residents’ presents, ornaments and Christmas trees. (Although he’s noticed by little, cute as a button, Cindy Lou Who). But, to his astonishment, although he’s taken everything, that doesn’t stop Christmas from coming, as he hears the Whos rejoicing in the morning. We see the Grinch’s heart grow and he returns all the Christmas presents, trees and decorations back to the Whos.

I always feel sorry for that poor dog, Max. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a cartoon, get over it.

And, you gotta love (yes, you have to. It’s a rule.) love the theme song. “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch ….” I’m going to have that in my head all morning now. (As a side note, Thurl Ravenscroft, who sang the song, also narrated the old Disney record, “The Haunted Mansion.”)

You can check out this clip from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on here:

You can also read moe here:

Monday, November 26, 2007

"The Year Without a Santa Claus"

OK, gang, here’s another one of my all-time holiday specials: “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”

It’s Christmas time, and Santa’s feeling under the weather, so he decides to take a vacation from Christmas. Jingle Bells and Jangle Bells, two of his elves, head out on Vixen the reindeer to find some children to convince Santa that Christmas is still important to people. However, before they land in Southtown, USA, they have to get by the Miser brothers—Snow Miser and Heat Miser. But the battling brothers can’t agree to let it snow in Southtown. So, Mrs. Claus resorts to a higher power: The Miser Brothers’ mother…Mother Nature!

I love the Miser Brothers! I’ve had this song in my head off-and-on for weeks now!

For more details on “The Year Without a Santa Claus” go to:

You can watch a clip of the Miser brothers on here:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

You know Dasher, and Dancer, And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid, And Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all...

Yes, folks, that would be “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Another one of the great holiday classics.

It’s the story about a reindeer named (take a wild guess, here) Rudolph, who was born with a red, shiny (and quite noisy) nose. His father tried to cover it up, but when playing “reindeer games” the fake nose false off, and Rudolph’s shiny nose is exposed! And, so, of course the other reindeer make fun of him and kick him out of the games.

But of course, every reindeer has his day.

One Christmas Eve, it’s so snowy and stormy, Santa can’t see, until he decides that Rudolph’s shiny nose could guide him through, and he asks Rudolph to guide his sleigh. Rudolph, of course says yes. The day is not only saved, but on the way, Rudolph and Santa stop at the Land of Misfit toys and rescue them, too. During the story, Rudolph also befriends a misfit elf named Hermie, a gold prospector named Yukon Cornelius (“Silver? I thought you were after gold?” “Wahoooooooooooooo! Nothin!”)

You can check out more on “Rudolph” here:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Frosty the Snowman"

OK, can’t talk about the holiday shows without mentioning “Frosty the Snowman”!

In the classic cartoon special, a bunch of kids build a snowman. They find a magician’s hat, and when they put it on the big, snowy guy, he comes to life. His first words? “Happy birthday!”

But, it’s not easy being made of snow.

A magician sets his sights on the magic hat, and Karen--one of the children who built Frosty--tries to get Frosty to the North Pole before he melts.

I haven’t watched this one in quite a long time. I might just have to rectify that this year.

(As a side note, to those who watched Frosti get voted off “Survivor”: I couldn’t resist singing, “Thumpity-thump-thump, thumpity-thump-thump, look at Frosti go … )

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade experience

Note: I had the chance to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade yesterday, as an employee's guest. Last night, I e-mailed some people about the experience, and I figured why not share the gist of the e-mail with my faithful blog readers. (You know who you are!). So, here it is:

OK...I'm going to try to type this without making any type-o's, or falling asleep at the keyboard.

Woke up Thursday at 2 a.m. (some nights I'm just crawling into bed at that time). Shuffled into the kitchen, fed the dog and walked her (she might have been a little confused about the time, but didn't mind the food). Came home, got ready and we were out the door by 3;40 a.m. to catch the bus at the Bridgewater Commons for the parade.

Beautiful weather! But we dressed as if we were prepared for a blizzard (picture the "A Christmas Story", not the "you'll shoot your eye out, kid!"scene...but the one where the kid is so overdressed he exclaims, "I can't put my arms down! I can't put my arms down!" That's what I felt like.

Anyway, got our costumes (we were soldiers) and changed into them. Red pants, heavy green jackets, and HUGE--and tight for my fat head--hats. Wearing the hat reminded me of that "I Love Lucy" episode, where she's wearing a huge headdress and trying to walk down a set of stairs. We also had large candy canes to carry (but, unfortunately, they weren't real.)

Started out kind of sedately, just waving to the crowd and yelling, "Happy Thanksgiving" and "Merry Christmas" (since we were with the Santa float). I'm surprised I'm not hoarse this morning.

But once we got going, we started stepping out and greeting people in the crowd, which was fun. I'm actually a little shy, so this took some mustering. But, once I got going, there was no stopping me.

Got to see Wynonna. I'm not really a big fan of country music (unless "Achy Breaky Heart" counts), but, hey, a celeb's a celeb.

After the parade, went right back to the New Yorker Hotel, where we changed out of our outfits, then walked over to catch our bus back to the Commons.

Got home, and apparently no one saw us on TV! I know we passed some cameras, so I checked out the tape I had plopped into the VCR before I left. (Another reason I got up so early!). And we were actually on ... for about a second...and a half! But, hey, a second and a half is a second and a half.

All in all, a great time!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
Well, gang, we made it through Thanksgiving, and now it’s time for all of those old holiday favorite specials.

And, what better way to start out with talking about them then with the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Charlie Brown is feeling down during the Christmas season, so he goes to see Lucy for some psychiatric advice (after paying 5 cents for her services). Lucy tells him he needs involvement, and their Christmas play needs a director. So, Charlie Brown becomes the director of the slightly-out-of-control cast. They send him out to get a Christmas tree for the play, and after some searching, he comes back with a twig-like tree. They laugh at him, Charlie Brown sulks off, and Linus gives a speech, telling Charlie Brown the meaning of Christmas. Finally, the rest of the Peanuts gang get busy with the tree and somehow transform it into a huge, fully-decorated tree. (Don’t tell me … they’re all devotees of Martha Stewart.) Charlie Brown happens upon them, sees the made-over tree, and they all scream, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”

My favorite part of the special is when the Peanuts gang is dancing around while Charlie Brown is trying to put the play together. I love that music. Even have it on my iPod. (Told you I was weird.)

You can watch Linus tell Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about on here:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"The March of the Wooden Soldiers"

One of my favorite childhood memories is watching “The March of the Wooden Soldiers,” (also known as “Babes in Toyland”), starring Laurel and Hardy, every Thanksgiving.

Set in Toyland, Ollie Dee and Stanny Dum live in Mother Peep’s shoe. (Toyland had some housing issues, huh?) They try to raise the money for the shoe’s mortgage to save Mother Peep, as well as preventing Little Bo Peep from falling prey to the sinister Barnaby. So they dress Stanny up in a bridal gown and veil and trick Barnaby into marrying him, instead of Little Bo Peep. Furious, Barnaby tries to destroy Toyland by setting forth the bogeymen. But, Toyland is saved when Ollie and Stan release giant wooden soldiers (the result of an manufacture order mistake by Stanny).

And, of course, the show always seemed to be accompanied by commercials for the toy store PlayWorld (“where prices gooooo …. So low, low, low, low, lowwwww….”)

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

For more information on “The March of the Wooden Soldiers” go to:

You can check out one of my favorite scenes from the movie (I love the three pigs and the cat and mouse! It STILL makes me laugh!) here:

--By Brad Wadlow, Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let's hear what you have to say! (And, thanks for posting, Michael!)

I recently posted an entry on the comedy “Laverne & Shirley.” The post caught the interest of Michael, my faithful poster on my “Big Brother” blog until Dick called Dustin “princess.”

Michael returned to say, “Brad, Brad, Brad...finally a topic I can get excited about, especially with the release of "Laverne & Shirley Season 3" only a week away.”

Well, blog readers, I don’t want you to wait for me to stumble upon a show that interests you. If you’d like to see me cover a certain show, let me know! If it’s a show I’m not familiar with, I can at least give a little background info on it. And, of course, I’ll include your comments, too.

Feel free to contact me by replying to a post, or you can e-mail me a suggestion for the "Totally TV" blog at Or write to me at: Brad Wadlow, "Totally TV" Blog, Courier News, 1201 Route 22 West, PO Box 6600, Bridgewater, NJ 08807. Or call me at (908) 707-3131, or fax your suggestions or comments to (908) 707-3252. Be sure to put my name and "Totally TV" blog on the fax.

So, let’s hear what you’ve got to say!

“Hong Kong Phooey”

It was the fall of 1974, and everyone was “Kung Fu Fighting.”

One of those fighters was the cartoon character, Hong Kong Phooey, who had his own cartoon show, aptly titled, “Hong Kong Phooey,” which premiered in September of 1974.

Mild-mannered Henry the dog worked as a janitor, but … when trouble struck (and it did in every episode), Henry would leap into the bottom drawer of his file cabinet, and emerge from the top drawer as kung fu fighting superhero, Hong Kong Phooey! (Inevitably, the top drawer of the file cabinet would become stuck, and Hong Kong Phooey would utter some Oriental words to free himself. Little did he know it was Spot, his faithful sidekick cat, who actually freed him by banging on the file cabinet!)

Voiced by Scatman Crothers, this was one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid!

(As a side note, please do not attempt to change into a superhero outfit by jumping in the bottom drawer of your file cabinet. It doesn’t work. Trust me.)

For more details on “Hong Kong Phooey,” go to here:

You can see the opening of “Hong Kong Phooey” here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Laverne & Shirley”

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight … Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated…

Thus began the theme to the long-running television comedy, “Laverne & Shirley.”

The characters first appeared on “Happy Days” as dates Fonzie rustled up from his big black book for himself and his best friend, Richie Cunningham. The characters of Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney were so popular with viewers that they garnered their own show, which ran from 1976 to 1983.

The show revolved around—yes, you guessed it—Laverne and Shirley, single roommates in Milwaukee who worked together in Schotz Brewery in the bottle-capping division. Laverne (played by Penny Marshall), could easily be spotted by the big letter “L” she usually wore on her shirts, and Shirley (Cindy Williams) dated Carmine “The Big Ragu” Ragusa.

Other series regulars were Michael McKean and David L. Lander as upstairs neighbors, Lenny and Squiggy, who would often burst into the girls’ apartment unannounced, both saying, “Hello!” in unison. Phil Foster starred as Laverne’s dad, Frank, and Betty Garrett, who played Irene Lorenzo on “All in the Family,” joined the cast as Edna Babish, Laverne and Shirley’s landlord, who would eventually marry Frank DeFazio.

In later seasons, the girls moved to California, along with the rest of the cast. And instead of a brewery, the worked in a department store. Joining the cast would be Leslie Easterbook as next-door neighbor, Rhonda Lee. Easterbrook would go on to star in several of the “Police Academy” movies.

The series waned when Cindy Williams left due to pregnancy and the show pretty much became the “Laverne” show.

But now matter how long the show goes off the air, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get the Angora Debs song out of my head. (“Angora Debs, forever true, we stick together, two by two. And if we should part, we’ll know from the start. Whatever goes, whatever comes, we’ll always be, Angora chums….you got an A-N...G-O-R-A-, you got an A-N...G-O-R-A ... Angora Debs … hot stuff!”

Has anyone figured out I need a vacation?

Some sites to scope out:

You can see the opening of “Laverne & Shirley” on here

Monday, November 19, 2007

Farewell, Mr. Whipple

The Associated Press has reported Dick Wilson, better known as “Mr. Whipple” from the Charmin commercials, has died.

Appearing in commercials from 1964 through 1985, grocer Mr. Whipple would implore his customers, “Please, don’t squeeze the Charmin.” But, of course, not even Mr. Whipple could follow his own directions with the “squeezably soft” bathroom tissue.

Wilson was 91.

You can read more on Dick Wilson, also known as “Mr. Whipple,” here:

The much-injured, often re-incarnated Wile E. Coyote

Don’t get me wrong … I love the Road Runner.

And I certainly wouldn’t want to see any harm come to the poor thing. Besides, as the theme song goes, “poor little Road Runner never bothers anyone.”

But, no matter how many hair-brained schemes Road Runner’s constant nemesis, Wile E. Coyote, comes up with, it’s Wile E. who winds up paying the price.

He’s fallen off countless cliffs, pounded with boulders, and ran into canyon walls painted to look like tunnels.

But, you have to admire the poor guy’s persistence. With help from various Acme contraptions, he keeps going after his goal.

And, in once case, the Coyote DOES catch him, but, having just gone through a drain pipe, Wile E. Coyote is incredibly smaller than the Road Runn, and can only get his little arms around one of the giant Road Runner’s legs.

Check out the Coyote catching the Road Runner on at

Check out the Coyote using some of his Acme products to catch the Road Runner at

See the opening to the 1968 Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour here:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunshine, lollipops and … "Batman"?

In a previous blog entry, I mentioned my favorite portrayal of the “Batman” arch villainess Catwoman was done by the one, and the only, Julie Newmar. But, it was double the fun in Episode 74, “That Darn Catwoman” and Episode 75, “Scat Darn Catwoman,” with the portrayal of Catwoman’s assistant by pop singer, Leslie Gore.

Gore is probably best known for her songs, “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” and “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows.” In her “Batman” appearances, she sang the song, “California Nights.” So, how did Gore swing an appearance on the classic television show? It probably didn’t hurt that Howie Horowitz, the show’s producer, was Gore’s uncle.

I now have the “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” song stuck in my head. It’s gonna take me at least a week to get it out of there.

Here are some sites to check out:

A quick clip of Julie Newmar and Leslie Gore on “Batman”:

You can see Gore belting out “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” (not on “Batman”) here:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Three's Company"

Come and knock on our door (come and knock on our door), we’ve been waiting for you (we’ve been waiting for you), where the kisses are hers, and hers, and his, three’s company, too.

“Three’s Company” revolved around Jack Tripper (played by John Ritter), who winds up rooming with Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Christmas “Chrissy” Snow (played by Suzanne Somers).

Originally the show also starred Norman Fell and Audra Lindley as Stanley and Helen Roper, landlords of the apartment house where the three lived. Helen would often lament about Stanley’s lack of attention in the boudoir, and Stanley would often crack a joke and then smile directly into the camera. The Ropers eventually got their own short-lived spin-off, and were replaced as landlords by Don Knott (Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show.”)

But it wasn’t just the landlords who would leave the show. Somers left, was replaced by Jenilee Harrison for a season, who was then replaced by Priscilla Barnes.

Somehow, I was checking out clips of “Three’s Company” and I wound up getting engrossed in clips of the kids' show, “Wonderama,” starring Bob McAllister. I’ll have to get to that show in a future blog entry!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy 26th anniversary, Luke and Laura!

Today marks the 26th wedding anniversary of Lucas "Luke" Lorenzo Spencer and Laura Webber Baldwin on the ABC soap, "General Hospital."

Where did the time go?

Back in 1981, having just saved Port Charles from a deep freeze by the maniacal Mikkos Cassadine, the duo was feted with a lavish wedding ceremony.

But, of course, nothing in soap world can go off without a couple of hitches. (pardon the marriage pun).

Elizabeth Taylor (always seeming to be a bride, never a guest) originated the role of Helena Cassadine, the widow of Mikkos, in these episodes. Dressed to the hilt, she seethes as she watches the newlywed couple cut the wedding cake. “My curse on you, Luke and Laura. My curse on both of you.”

And, of course, this is no ordinary curse, but a Cassadine curse, so it’s a curse with some oomph behind it. And it doesn’t take long for it to kick in. When Laura (Genie Francis) throws the bridal bouquet, who should catch it but Scotty, Laura’s ex-husband (played by Kin Shriner). So, of course, Luke climbs down from the balcony and dukes it out with Scotty.

In later years, the curse keeps working, with Laura disappearing and presumed dead (actually kidnapped by Helena Cassadine), the kidnapping and brainwashing of the couple’s son, Lucky, and the eventual descent into madness of Laura.

Some clips to scope out:

See Laura pledge her wedding vows to Luke

See Scotty and Luke duke it out at the wedding reception

Robert Scorpio (played by Tristan Rogers) and Helena Cassadine (Elizabeth Taylor)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

“The Jetsons”

Meet George Jetson (doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo doo)

“The Jetsons” was a cartoon about a space-age family named (take a guess) The Jetsons. The family’s patriarch was George, who toiled away at Spacely Sprockets for the hard-driving Mr. Spacely. (Their competition, Cogswell Cogs).

And then there was Jane, his wife; daughter Judy and “his boy” Elroy. And, of course, the family dog, Astro. (Rut-roh! Right, Reorge!)

According to, the series ran from Sept. 23, 1962 to March 3, 1963. Further episodes were produced for syndication between 1985 and 1987.

I can vividly remember being in fifth grade (that’s around 1977-78 for those of you keeping tabs on my age) and one of the usually assignments in the spelling workbook was to describe what it would be like to live in the year 2001. So, of course, in true “Jetsons” style, I envisioned flying cars, conveyor belts instead of sidewalks and self-cleaning houses. (I’m still holding out for one of those!) We haven’t quite reached the technology of “The Jetsons” yet, have we?

One memorable moment was George teaming up with Judy’s pop idol, Jet Screamer, to sing “Eep, Opp, Ork Ah-Ah” (George had replaced Judy’s song contest entry with these words, which were secret code words of Elroy’s, but the code words actually wound up winning!)

Check out “The Jetsons” at

Check out the opening to “The Jetsons” on at

Check out George Jetson and Jet Screamer performing “Eep, Opp, Ork Ah-Ah”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Ooh, my nose!"

OK, here's another one of the great "Brady Bunch" episodes.

But, then again, aren't they all?

In the episode entitled, "The Subject Was Noses," Marcia (known to her sister Jan as Marcia, Marcia, Marcia) has a date with nice guy Charley, but she absentmindedly forgets about it when Doug Simpson, the “big man on campus” asks her out on a date.

So, to solve the dilemma, she turns to big step-brother Greg, who advises her to tell Charley “something suddenly came up.” Taking the advice, Marcia breaks her date with Charley.

But, as the saying goes, what goes around, comes around. And, unfortunately for Marcia, that something going around is a football. Peter and Bobby are playing football in the backyard, and when Marcia goes out to call them in for dinner, WHAMMO! She’s hit in the nose with the football, which swells up bigger than a balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (but she doesn’t break it!)

When Mr. Big Man on Campus sees what's befallen poor Marcia, he tells her “something suddenly came up” (where have we heard that before??) and breaks his date with Marcia. In the end, Marcia goes out with good-guy Charley, and they run into Doug Simpson. Doug makes fun of Marcia breaking the date, and Charley decks him, causing Doug’s nose to swell up, too. Who said chivalry was dead?

One of the things I remember vividly from this episode is Marcia reflecting on getting socked with the football repeated. “Ooh, my nose!...Ooh, my nose!...Ooh, my nose!”

As a side note, Nicholas Hammond, who played Doug Simpson, went on to star as “Spider-Man” in the television series “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Paris Hilton's mom a Suede???

I was just checking out a clip of Leather Tuscadero & the Suedes from “Happy Days” on when I learned that Kathy Richards, who played the Suede named Gertie, is now known as Kathy Hilton.

Yes, that’s right, Paris Hilton’s mom was a Suede.

See, you DO learn something new every day.

You can read more here:

Remembering "Mahna Mahna"

I was surfing around when I finally found it.

Mahna Mahna.

It also listed as manamana. However, I had always thought it was "monomonop." And sung it that way, too.

Whatever it's called, I'm sure I drove my family nuts as I sang it all the way as we drove from the family home in Hicksville (now, come on, where else would I be from?), Long Island to Florida.

From the show, "Sesame Street," "Mahna Manha" was a simple song sung by two girl muppets, who sang "ba-dee-ba-dee-bee" and one heavily bearded muppet who would exasperate his co-singers as he frequently embellished his "mahna mahna" part.

I've had this song stuck in my head for several days now. So, I just figured I'd share.

You can check out the muppets singing "Manha Manha" on at

“Fantasy Island”

“My friends, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island!”

Thus spoke Ricardo Montalban’s character on “Fantasy Island” as he greeted his guests each week. (Not to mention his trademark, “Smiles, everyone, smiles” to his staff before the guests arrived).

Every episode, characters (portrayed by celebrity guest stars, a la The Love Boat), would fly into Fantasy Island to have their wildest fantasies (well, at least the ones they could show on television) fulfilled.

And, of course, there was Tattoo, Mr. Roarke’s diminutive assistant, who as the plane was landing on Fantasy Island, would climb up to a bell tower, ring the bell, and announce, “Da plane! Da plane!”

According to, from 1980 to 1982, Wendy Schaal joined the cast as another assitant. Herve Villechaize, who played Tattoo, quit before the show’s final season, and was replaced by Christopher Hewett (who later went on to star in “Mr. Belvedere.”)

Among the guest stars: Eve Plumb (“Jan” from “The Brady Bunch”), Fred Grandy (“Gopher” from “The Love Boat,” Adam West (from the ‘60s “Batman” series), and many, many more.

Some sites to check out:

You can check out the beginning of “Fantasy Island” on YouTube at

Monday, November 12, 2007

“The Love Boat”

“Love, exciting and new, come aboard, we’re expecting you….”

So began the theme song to “The Love Boat,” which ran from 1977 to 1986.

Each week, guest stars would board the Pacific Princess and, for the most part, either find themselves in the boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl scenario, or couples rekindled those old home fires. (Who says you can’t cram a bunch of clich├ęs into one sentence?)

The cast: Gavin MacLeod (AKA “Murray” from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) as Capt. Merrill Stubing; Ted Lange as Isaac Washington, ship’s bartender; Bernie Kopell as the ship’s amorous doctor, Dr. Adam Bricker; Fred Grandy as purser Berl “Gopher” Smith, Lauren Tewes (pronounced “tweeze”) as the ship’s cruise director, Julie McCoy. In later seasons, Jill Whelan joined the cast as Capt. Stubing’s daughter, Vicki; and Ted McGinley came aboard as ship photographer Ashley Covington Evans (or “Ace”) and Pat Klous stepped into the cruise director position as Judy McCoy.

Notable guest appearances: Charo, as the guitar playing April, made several trips on The Love Boat, and Ethel Merman portrayed Gopher’s mom in several episodes.

What they don’t show: I can only recall an maybe and instance or two of a passenger trying to find their cabin. Were all the passengers equipped with homing devices upon embarking the ship? I’ve been on two cruises, and I spent the majority of the time looking at the ships’ maps and trying to find my way around.

Maybe it’s just me. Probably is.

If you want to check out the opening theme to “The Love Boat” on, go to’

For more cast/guest star information, go to

Sunday, November 11, 2007

“Murphy Brown”

Another one of my all-time favorite shows, although it lost its luster for me in the final season or two. After Grant Shaud (who played executive producer Miles Silverberg) left and Lily Tomlin came aboard, and they changed the set, it just wasn’t the same.

But, man, oh man, before that time, it was great. Set in a television newsroom, it focused on ace reporter Murphy Brown (wonderfully played by Candice Bergen).

And I don’t recall any television show garnishing attention from a vice president (Dan Quayle), who took “Murphy Brown” to task in a speech for having a baby out of wedlock and glamorizing single motherhood. In the next season’s opener, Murphy, frazzled from a crying baby and in desperate need of a shower, says to her colleague and friend, Frank (played by Joe Regalbuto), “Look at me, Frank! Am I glamorous?”

I also loved how Murphy would go through secretaries faster than I go through a bag of Herr’s barbecue potato chips (now that’s FAST!).

Check out this clip I found on YouTube. It’s part of the episode where Murphy gives birth to her son, Avery (named after Murphy’s late mother).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

“The People’s Court”

Oh, my God! One of my favorite shows today! (and every other day of the week! Yes, I know it’s only on Monday through Friday, but I have a lot of them on tape.) I just love Judge Marilyn Milian!

She’s everything rolled into one—she can be serious, funny, she runs her courtroom well, and pulls out a Spanish expression every now and then. (And she translates them, too!)

Although I’m glad I don’t have to be, I’d rather be in her courtroom than any other judge’s courtroom on television. Although, being the smart-aleck that I am, she’d probably kick me out of there in less than 10 minutes. I’d be giving some sort of evidence to her baliff, Douglas, and I’d say, very Judge Milian-esquely, “Thank … you … Douglas!” And I love when she decides the outcome of the case and says, “Here’s a surprise … ZERO!” and either makes the “L” sign for loser or makes a zero with her hand. That always cracks me up. (I know, it takes so little to amuse me, doesn’t it?)

I didn’t watch the series much when Judge Judy’s husband, Jerry Sheindlin, was at the bench. Didn’t like his style at all. I did watch when Judge Wapner was on the bench, but not as religiously as I do now. (As a side note, did you know Wapner’s baliff, Roy J. “Rusty” Burrell, was a bailiff during the trials of Charles Manson and Patricia Hearst?)

You can watch Judge Milian go ballistic on a defendant on at

You go, Judge Milian.

Friday, November 9, 2007

“Schoolhouse Rock”

What would a day of Saturday cartoons be without an intermission of “School House Rock”?

“School House Rock” was a series of short animated segments that taught kids about grammar, legislative procedures, and math. According to, they began airing in 1973.

Some of my favorites:

• Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here. (Father, Son and Lolly get your adverbs here…) This segment taught about, you guessed it … adverbs.

• Conjunction Junction: A railroad engineer teaches about conjunctions, using and, but and or to hook up railroad cars. Conjunction junction, what’s your function? (“You should always say thank you, or at least say pleeeeease.”)

• Interjections. I remember the opening part of this vividly, of a doctor giving a kid a shot and the kid shouting interjections.

• Ready or Not, Here I Come: Multiplication Rock with kids playing hide and seek that taught kids how to multiply by fives, up to 120. …5…10…15…20…(hey, I DID remember something…)

• And, of course, we learned how a bill became a law. “I’m just a bill, yes, I’m only a bill …”

You can check out Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here at

You can check out the Conjunction Junction School House Rock at

You can check out the Interjection School House Rock at

You can check out “Ready or Not, Here I Come” School House rock at

You can check out “I’m Just a Bill” School House Rock at

You can check out School House Rock at at

Thursday, November 8, 2007


One of my favorite shows when I was growing up (although some—quite a few, actually—would argue I still haven’t grown up).

The show aired in 1979 and 1980 and starred Donna Pescow, from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” as Angie, and Robert Hays, who would later go on to star in the “Airplane” movies, as her husband, Brad. (What a great name that is. OK, so I’m a little biased.)

Angie marries the wealthy Brad and, being from a middle-class Italian family, tries to adjust to the new lifestyle. Among the cast were the late Debralee Scott (who was often seen on the game show “Match Game”) and Doris Roberts, who portrayed Angie’s mother and would later go on to star as Ray Barone’s meddling mother, Marie, in the hit show, “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

I loved the show’s intro song. (What can I say, I was around 12 or 13 at the time).

You can check out the full cast list and more at

If you’d like to check out the “Angie” intro on YouTube, go to:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

“The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome”

This morning, I was racking my brain (don’t worry, it’s a little rack) trying to think of a good blog topic when two thoughts came to mind. After I recovered from the momentary overload, I thought about television characters that have been portrayed by two actors or actresses, as well as those characters that disappear off the face of the television screen with no explanation. Leave it to and Wikipedia to leave me a wealth of examples to choose from.

Two incidents of characters disappearing from shows with no explanation that stuck out in my mind was the youngest daughter, Judy, on “Family Matters” (portrayed by Jaimee Foxworth) and Chuck Cunningham, the oldest brother on “Happy Days.” I found in my research that the mysterious disappearance of characters from television shows has been dubbed “The Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.” The character of Chuck Cunningham also gets a double score because before his inexplicable vanishing act, the character of Chuck was portrayed by two different actors, Gavan O’Herlihy and Randolph Roberts.

I don’t know what’s worse…losing a favorite character entirely, or having him or her portrayed by a different person. Although one of my favorite switcheroos was the character of Becky on “Roseanne.” Originally portrayed by Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke stepped into the role for a bit, and then Lecy Goranson returned. During one of the season’s openings, the characters morph on the screen from the show’s beginning to the present, and when we get to the Becky character, we see Goranson morph into Chalke and then back into Goranson.

You can see more examples of same character, different actor and inexplicable character disappearances at:

“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”

OK, I’m too young to remember the original airings of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” but, through the magic of television, I’ve caught reruns.

Some of my favorite parts: The end of the show where the cast pops art of doors in a wall and tell joke to each other. I would have loved to do that. But with my luck, the door would have been stuck and I’d have to share a window with Alan Sues.

And I just adore the daffy Goldie Hawn. Gotta love a giggly blonde.

One of my favorite characters was Ruth Buzzi’s hairnetted Gladys Ornphby, who was continually whacking Tyrone (played by Arte Johnson) as he cozied up to her on a park bench. Another character that deserves mention is the telephone operator, Ernestine, played by Lily Tomlin, who extolled, “One ringy-dingy…” Equally as amusing was Tomlin’s Edith Ann, a child who sat in an oversized rocking chair and proclaimed, “And that’s the truth!”

And, of course, I can’t mention “Laugh-In” without giving a nod to the catchphrase, “Sock it to me!”

In the style of Arte Johnson’s German soldier, it was all verrrrrry interesting.

Check out more on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” at

“Land of the Lost”

Rick Marshall and his children, Will and Holly, were on a routine expedition on the rapids when an earthquake struck their raft and took them down 1000 feet below to the Land of the Lost (lost … lost …lost)

Suddenly finding themselves back in prehistoric times, they find themselves pitted against irritable dinosaurs, such as Grumpy, and green amphibious, hissing, nasty men called Sleestaks. (Of course, there was one good one in the bunch, Enik. There’s always one good one in the group.). And, of course, there was the little monkey boy (no, not me) named Chaka (no, not Khan) who befriended the family.

Then, after the second season, Rick Marshall left “The Land of the Lost” (sure, leave the kids behind. You know, there’s laws about that, buster). And, suddenly, Will and Holly’s Uncle Jack (Rick’s brother, who went searching for them) shows up.

And there were these structures all over the place called Pylons, which had tables of crystals inside them. Messing with the crystals meant messing with the weather.

Hey, it’s raining out right now … stop messing with those crystals and get out of that Pylon! Now!

You can watch the opening of “Land of the Lost” on YouTube at

You can also check out this Land of the Lost Web site:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The men behind the voices

There were several big mysteries during the 1970s, such as: why I couldn’t get the color on my mood ring to change when I wore it, why bellbottoms were in style, where Patty Hearst was hiding out when she was on the lam, and who were the men behind the voices of Carlton the doorman on “Rhoda” and Charlie of “Charlie’s Angels.”

The mystery of Charlie’s identity was solved much quicker than the question of Carlton’s identity. During an episode of “Charlie’s Angels,” my Dad piped in from his chair, “That’s John Forsythe!” Forsythe, of course, later stepped in front of the camera for “Dynasty,” in which he played Blake Carrington.

And I just solved the mystery of Carlton when I did an Internet search for Lorenzo Music. (I know, I’m a little bit of a procrastinator sometimes). Music was also the voice of the cartoon cat, Garfield.You can check out Lorenzo Music’s picture, which accompanied his obituary, here

Check out pictures of John Forsythe at

Monday, November 5, 2007

More "Brady Bunch" memories - Davy Jones!

Girl, look what you’ve done to me … me and my whole world..
Who can forget "The Brady Bunch" episode where Marcia tells her classmates that she could get Davy Jones of The Monkees to sing at their prom, because he promised her in a letter he would be glad to help her if ever he was in town. (Marcia’s president of his Fillmore Junior High fan club.)
And, of course, Davy’s in town, and there’s no entertainment for Marcia’s prom.
So, Marcia tries to track the Monkee down, and finally finds out, with her brother Greg’s help, that he’s at a recording studio. When she gets there, Davy overhears on the studio microphone Marcia telling his manager about the pickle she’s in. But, the manager won’t let Marcia in to talk to Davy.
But, that doesn’t stop a Monkee.
Back at home, Marcia is about to admit defeat when the doorbell rings. And it’s …
Avon calling.
Nah, I’m just messin’ with you. You guessed it (of course, you’ve seen the episode a million times) Davy Jones! And he agrees to sing at Marcia’s prom. Except for one little problem … he doesn’t have a date. Of course, Marcia quickly solves that problem and agrees to be Davy’s date, and even gives him a kiss on the cheek. And one on the flip side, too.
You can check out this clip of Davy singing and Marcia begging the agent for him (Davy, not the agent) to sing at her prom on YouTube at

Friday, November 2, 2007

More television commercials revisited

Seeing the recent Geico commercials featuring a troubled, grown up Cabbage Patch kid set me to wondering: Whatever happened to Mikey, the kid from the Life cereal commercials. ("Hey, Mikey! He likes it!")
Of course, we can’t forget that nasty rumor either, that Mikey met an untimely demise by mixing Pop Rocks candy and soda. But, the rumor turned out to be false (I’m sleeping much better now, thank you) and the actor who played him, John Gilchrist, is apparently alive and well. You can read more about it at this Web site:
And remember when The Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz" hawked coffee? (Hey, witches need caffeine too every now and then). Actually, it was the actress, Margaret Hamilton, and not the witch, who promoted the brew. In her Maxwell House reincarnation, Hamilton portrayed a kindly lady named Cora. Remember, Maxwell House is good to the last drop.
Finally, I’ve always wondered how many dogs wound up with concussions after running into the kitchen cabinets after the Chuck Wagon. What a tease!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"The Underdog Show"

Have no fear, Underdog is here!
"Underdog" was a cartoon featuring a humble, and loveable shoeshine boy (or dog), whose alter-ego was the superhero … here’s a surprise, Underdog. And then there was Sweet Polly Purebred, a television reporter and Underdog’s girlfriend.
First airing in 1964, some of this cartoons villains scared the Count Chocula out of me. Among them: RiffRaff, an underworld boss, and the giant featured at the beginning of each episode.
"The Underdog Show" also featured the cartoon, "The Go-Go-Gophers." I loved these guys. One of them only spoke in wild and crazy gestures. The catch-phrase of the other one was "Ooooopie dooooopie." Go-go-gophers, watch ‘em go go go.
Other segments of the show included "Klondike Kat" (remember "Savoir faire is everywhere!") and "The World of Commodore McBragg."
For more information on "The Underdog Show," check out these sites:
Check out my rendition of The Go-Go Gophers, done in acrylic paint, on